Malocclusion and Orthodontics
Teeth that are naturally Reference perfectly aligned Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window are rare. A poor fit and alignment of the teeth (Reference malocclusion Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window) can range from mild to severe. Mild Reference malocclusion Opens New Window causes no medical or functional problems and little cosmetic concern, while severe malocclusion may cause difficulty with eating and speaking. Some people are embarrassed or self-conscious about crooked or protruding teeth.
Crowding is the most common type of malocclusion. In children, early crowding of permanent teeth can prevent new teeth from coming in properly or from erupting at all (impaction).
Some mild Reference types of malocclusion may improve as a child's jaw grows and changes. But there are many conditions that don't improve without treatment. These usually involve the size or position of the jaw (such as an Reference underbite Opens New Window or an unusually narrow lower jaw).
With or without orthodontic treatment, the teeth have a normal tendency to slowly drift toward the front of the jaw. This may lead to crowded lower front teeth (incisors).
A poor bite doesn't usually cause Reference tooth decay Opens New Window, Reference gum (periodontal) disease Opens New Window, or Reference temporomandibular (TM) disorder Opens New Window. But teeth that are aligned properly are easier to keep clean.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference January 11, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Reference William F. Hohlt, DDS - Orthodontics